The Execution of Troy Davis

Actually, it has been temporarily stayed, but no one knows for how long…could be that Mr. Davis will be executed later today, or tomorrow…but it could also go on quite a long time.  After all, last month we passed the 20th anniversary of his conviction.  I admit that until a little while ago, I had never heard of Mr. Davis – but this article over at Hot Air brought it to my attention, especially as it details Reagan FBI Director Sessions’ assertion that Mr. Davis should not be executed.

Reading the article, I have to say I’m quite unimpressed with the exculpatory evidence.  Seems like the usual litany of claims made by someone trying to get off from their crime.  Someone else did the actual dirty deed, witnesses have changed testimony, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Probably 99% of those on death row have similar claims.  Looking a bit further in to the case, I find – in my view – the most crucial evidence being that the ballistics for the murder match the ballistics for a previous armed robbery, for which Mr. Davis was convicted.

There is, of course, that chance that Mr. Davis lent his weapon to someone else who then murdered the cop (off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail), but this is highly unlikely.  What is incontrovertible is that Mr. Davis was doing a lot of things in 1989 (the year of the crime) as he shouldn’t…to put it to you all quite harshly, if by some chance he didn’t actually kill the cop, then he can choke on the irony of it all.  There is no one responsible for Mr. Davis being on death row other than Mr. Davis – he was living a life a crime, and such a life brings with it grave risks.  Had he never run afoul of the law, then he almost certainly would never have been convicted of any crime, let alone one which would result in a death sentence.

What really got me thinking over this case was the way the HotAir article concluded:

…The judge at the evidentiary hearing concluded that, “While Mr. Davis’s new evidence casts some additional, minimal doubt on his conviction, it is largely smoke and mirrors.” That’s an excellent reason to keep him locked up while he tries to prove his innocence, but “additional” doubt — even if it’s minimal — is an equally fine reason not to apply the needle lest you deny him the chance, especially when you have the shadow of someone else’s confession looming over the proceedings. Like Guy Benson says, “There are no do-overs here.” This, in fact, is how I suspect most opponents of capital punishment are made — there’ll always be some who blubber at the thought of the state imposing lethal justice on the Ted Bundys of the world, but the rest move by inches as nagging doubts in cases like this drag them towards abolition. Even if Davis is probably guilty, why not save lethal injection for the guys who are definitely guilty? I’ll never understand that.

Indeed – and that is part of the reason I’m opposed to the death penalty (the other part is that I hope those who commit crimes eventually beg God for forgiveness…I don’t wish to be even in theory part of cutting a man down before he’s had every possible chance to repent).  But the problem is that those who either oppose the death penalty – or who are approaching opposition – go about it entirely the wrong way.  As per usual in these cases, we had the “no justice, no peace” people out in force…curious how they never shout that for the innocent victims of crime; they never seem to demand justice for them and are quite peaceable about the people murdered, raped and robbed by criminals.  Seems that only criminals make such people want justice.  Funny, huh?  Anyways…they’ve got it all wrong.  If you want to end the death penalty, don’t argue in favor of the condemned who are usually pretty bad people, even if you want to argue they didn’t do the actual crime they are to be executed for.  What you want to argue for is justice…that those who commit crimes will pay a high price for it.  Do that, and all demand for the death penalty will evaporate.

Because you want to know what gets peoples goat?  It isn’t that criminals are breathing, but that they are breathing and not having a bad time of it.  Among the routine stories of our times are stories of convicted felons in prison having cable television, exercise rooms, access to booze and drugs and generally lots of time to loaf around and eat food they didn’t earn.  That is what ticks people off…but if we make prison a place of no amenities and hard labor, then it will be judged sufficient punishment for criminals, and the public support for the death penalty will dry up.  Don’t, as it were, try to get Davis off…try to get him transferred to a prison-striped uniform and out in the hot sun breaking rocks, 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.  He’ll be alive, he certainly won’t be executed, he’ll still be able to argue his case in court that he’s innocent…but he won’t be in any condition to make non-criminals figure he isn’t being punished.

The desire for justice is innate in human beings.  Even when we are at our worst, we still tend to desire an equitable outcome. That people will get what’s coming to them.  The death penalty in the United States is just the desperate expedient of people who were sick and tired of mealy-mouthed liberals letting murderers out of jail after 12 years back in the 70’s.  Get rid of the mealy-mouthed liberals, make prison a harsh but just experience, and the people will relent of their desire to execute.  It is as simple as that.

UPDATE:  Mr. Davis was executed at 11:08 pm, Eastern.  I am sorry for it.  May God have mercy on his soul and comfort his friends and family in this hour of trial.  May God also preserve and strengthen the family and friends of officer Mark MacPhail.

20 thoughts on “The Execution of Troy Davis

  1. bardolf September 21, 2011 / 10:33 pm

    I agree with Mark as regards the death penalty and think a consistent pro-life message on a variety of fronts is needed. After abortion, I believe that time in prison is the second biggest loss of American lives which needs to be addressed. We need to keep the Troy Davis’ in prison where they belong, but let the people in jail for possession of drugs pay a monetary penalty at most.

  2. bozo September 21, 2011 / 11:34 pm

    Get rid of the mealy-mouthed liberals, make prison a harsh but just experience, and the people will relent of their desire to execute. – you didn’t watch the Republican debates?

    Knowing he would be dead in minutes, he maintained his innocence, and called for his friends to continue to seek the truth.

    He then stated “May God have mercy on your souls, may God bless your souls” to those who were about to kill him.

    The MacPhails were seen smiling. The Tea Party has one more reason to applaud.

    The devil went down to Georgia.

    • Mark Edward Noonan September 21, 2011 / 11:49 pm

      Bozo,

      First of all, none of us our innocent – there has only been one completely and truly innocent man ever executed. There is great truth in the Shakespearean line, “treat all men as they deserve and who would ‘scape whipping?”. You’re missing the point…the need for justice. All sorts of justice…including the sort which would have resolved this case, once and for all, long before the 20th anniversary of the conviction.

      Like all of us, Mr. Davis was a sinner…but in addition to the normal run of human sin, he appears to have engaged in a life of crime. If he didn’t kill that police officer, then it was more luck than design…given the way he was going, he was bound to eventually kill someone, or be killed, himself, in the commission of a crime. It is sad that his life is forfeit, but it was forfeited by him long before an executioner drew down the curtain.

      Most importantly, how do we get from here to there? How do we go from a nation with the death penalty to a nation without? By trying to coddle and excuse criminals, or by ensuring that justice is swift, sure and severe? I would have had Mr. Davis breaking rocks for the past 20 years…and for 20 years more, and 20 years after that. The system we’ve set up – a liberal system with the death penalty tacked on to it as a desperate expedient – had him sitting comfortably, able to spend time and energy on appeal after appeal…and to live for 20 years after conviction for murder … and then to wind up dead, his life wasted. That isn’t justice…that is just a mess. I’d like to fix the mess…you want to perpetuate it.

      • bozo September 22, 2011 / 6:33 pm

        You almost had me until the last five words.

        Curious: if evidence gets intentionally compromised in a case like this, and is discovered after the execution, should not the one who tampered with that evidence also be executed since they have directly caused the loss of innocent life? Just a hypothetical, but there have been rare trials where this has happened, and generally there’s a monetary settlement for the wrongly-accused’s family. That always seemed odd to me.

    • bardolf September 22, 2011 / 10:32 am

      Among the witnesses who did not recant a word of their testimony against Davis were three members of the Air Force, who saw the shooting from their van in the Burger King drive-in lane. The airman who saw events clearly enough to positively identify Davis as the shooter explained on cross-examination, “You don’t forget someone that stands over and shoots someone.”

      After a two-week trial with 34 witnesses for the state and six witnesses for the defense, the jury of seven blacks and five whites took less than two hours to convict Davis of Officer Mark MacPhail’s murder, as well as various other crimes. Two days later, the jury sentenced Davis to death.

      The POINT is not his guilt/innocence. The point is that the death penalty shouldn’t exist and force people to defend cop killers when they really are defending human life (even if it is the life of criminals).

  3. js September 22, 2011 / 5:46 am

    let him who is without sin…cast the first stone

    • bozo September 22, 2011 / 6:46 pm

      So Troy should have been spared, I assume?

      The oddity for me has always been this – should a loved one of yours be killed, why would you want to send the killer to where your loved one was? Wouldn’t it be better to lock ’em up here on this earthly plane for the duration of all the bereaved family’s lives, knowing their departed loved one is safe in heaven/nirvana/wherever until they arrived there, too?

      Isn’t it bothersome to picture the murderer, who may have given his life to Jesus minutes before his execution, lovingly lounging in the arms of angels with your beloved? If the answer is that the perp is forgiven, then why kill him here?

  4. Navydad September 22, 2011 / 10:33 am

    What hypocrits these Troy Davis mourners/victims have made themselves out to be…..it makes me sick.
    The death penalty is flawed…no doubt, however, did anyone defend the white guy in Texas that was accused of dragging a black man to death? Where was the media on that one…eh? At one time…he claimed his innocence too. I know…I know, different situation….NOT!! There are always parallels within any death penalty case, yet it appears racism has played a key role in the Troy Davis case.

    • Count d'Haricots September 22, 2011 / 12:50 pm

      Swabie-Pop,

      You have precisely made the point for the abolition of the death penalty in this country at this time; we cannot consistently apply a single standard or assign a single reaction to such a varying spectrum of situations.

      I have no doubt that we have every right to exact the highest price possible for the most heinous crimes; the death penalty is perfectly within our rights as a civilized society. There is no inconsistency in my mind that abortion is murder of an innocent and the death penalty is punishment for choices. But, we have not found a way to reconcile our need for revenge with our compassion for human life; we spend so much time and effort arguing with ourselves the victim and the criminal become indistinguishable.

      There should be a special place in hell for the heartless cop-killer and the racist sociopath, and they should be dispatched there forthwith, but we haven’t the ability to do so and we’ve proven it time and again. Send them instead to a place where we can ignore them for decades until their bodies give out; deny them human pity lavished on the death-row residents, and let us get on with our lives.

      • bardolf September 22, 2011 / 2:06 pm

        I 100% agree.

        I especially like “we spend so much time and effort arguing with ourselves the victim and the criminal become indistinguishable.”

      • Count d'Haricots September 22, 2011 / 2:32 pm

        Agree? Can’t be; Wing Nuts always march lock-step to the orders of El Rushbo, sorry, we’re supposed to be taking orders from the Koch Brothers now.

        Oh, and you mean to say “I agree 100%” because “agree” is already a positive affirmation.

      • bardolf September 22, 2011 / 3:25 pm

        Count

        Being against the death penalty is allowed in your church of Wingnuttism. It is an adiaphoron. Being pro-union will get you excommunicated. I think the scriptures of Ayn Rand originally made supporting unions a sin punishable by stoning in fact.

      • Count d'Haricots September 22, 2011 / 3:56 pm

        ‘dolph,

        For the record, I’m not “against the death penalty” per se; I just believe we’ve lost the ability to dispassionately dispense it.
        I don’t know if adiaphora can be conjugated in that manner and still be correct. I don’t know for sure and for certain, but I’ve never read it used that way.

        We should make this mutual admiration thing transitory; we need to get back to sniping lest they think we’re here to actually discuss.

    • neocon1 September 22, 2011 / 3:16 pm

      hang em

    • neocon1 September 22, 2011 / 3:18 pm

      navydad

      I know…I know, different situation…

      yeah
      one white guy ….Yawn BFD
      one black guy …..OMG the pooor pooor poooor misunderstood innocent man.
      OJ???

  5. bozo September 22, 2011 / 6:51 pm

    I would think fiscal conservatives would abolish the death penalty immediately after reading this about California’s present death penalty system:

    “Using conservative rough projections, the Commission estimates the annual costs of the present system ($137 million per year), the present system after implementation of the reforms … ($232.7 million per year) … and a system which imposes a maximum penalty of lifetime incarceration instead of the death penalty ($11.5 million).” from THIS REPORT.

    A hundred million saved here, a hundred million there, and pretty soon you’re talking some real money. Society is protected, convicted perps do life, and taxpayer cash is saved.

    • Count d'Haricots September 22, 2011 / 7:43 pm

      SIMPLY WOW!

      A “report” from commission of political appointees.

      And who said we can’t find a fair arbiter of facts on the subject.

    • neocon1 September 23, 2011 / 1:32 pm

      blowzo

      a dead man costs nothing to society, he reaped what he sow’ed,
      yet not a peep for the guy in Texas why is that?

  6. dbschmidt September 22, 2011 / 11:35 pm

    If anyone follows the foundation of our (the US) legal system it is based on Natural law, or what is more commonly called “People’s Law.” Cicero had this part correct is that it is a code of “right reason” from the Creator himself and it can not be altered nor repealed.

    In the word of the Creator it is called “right reason”, when perfectly understood it is called “wisdom”, and when applied by government in regulating human conditions it is called “justice”; however, this is for a virtuous and moral society which it appears America has abandoned.

    The basis of all laws was and should still be reparation of the grieved and there were very few “capital” crimes (4 actually and 1st degree murder added later) that reparation is not possible. With that said–if it was life (as until death) with no exceptions at hard labor isolated from the rest of mankind I would be all for it.

    On initial conviction–start and expedite the appeal process until all appeals have been exhausted or the prisoner has been found falsely accused and released. Tell them to kiss mankind (short of new evidence or procedure to possibly prove their innocence) goodbye and ship them to hell on earth where they have forfeited all of their human rights short of basic decency.

    To serve their time until they die and are collected by a family member, buried in a potter’s grave, or the end of time itself.

  7. Jimblogger September 23, 2011 / 7:29 am

    It’s funny how people make a big deal about this the “day of” yet he’s been sitting in a cell for 20+ years waiting to get the needle. How many people even knew about this 5 days ago?

    Troy Davis was convicted. There is nothing anyone can do so we all might as well stfu.

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